Donnerstag, 24. Oktober 2019, 18:30 - 20:00 iCal

Wagamama (selfishness)

Barriers to participation in social movements in Japan

Kyoko Tominaga (Ritsumeikan University, Kyoto)

Institut für Ostasienwissenschaften - Japanologie, Seminarraum Jap 1
Spitalgasse 2, UniversitätsCampus Hof 2, Eingang 2.4, 1090 Wien


Comparative survey data from the World Value Survey or International Social Survey Programme reveal a low participation rate of Japanese in social protest movements. Recent reflections on the protest of Hong Kong citizens, worldwide climate strikes and similar forms of international collec-tive action have prompted journalists and activists alike to question the reasons behind Japan’s low participation levels in political activism. This presentation discusses from a cultural perspective how in contemporary Japan people create barriers to participation in social movements. Based on inter-views with high-school and university students who are interested in social problems, I will clarify why it is difficult for Japanese to take part in collective action, Qualifications such as “selfish” and “trouble-maker” that appeared in the conversations with students show the negative image of partic-ipation in social movements even though they acknowledged the goals and importance of collective action. I suggest in my presentation that the barrier to participation in social movements are largely due to media flaming and policing.

Kyoko Tominaga is an Associate Professor at the College of Social Sciences at Ritsumeikan Univer-sity. She holds a PhD from the University of Tokyo in sociology. Her research topics include social movement sub-cultures, border-crossing mutual understanding among political activists and barriers to participation in social movements.


Institut für Ostasienwissenschaften/Japanologie und AAJ (Akademischer Arbeitskreis Japan)


Mag. Angela Kramer
Universität Wien
Institut für Ostasienwissenschaften - Japanologie